HONOLULU — The winner of this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation varsity football championship will play in the Division I state tournament.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association football committee finalized the format for the 2017 football state tournament — which has been revised to a three-tier, four-team format. The revision was announced Friday.
“If you take a step back, we know we’re trying to make the leagues more competitive, fair,” said KIF President Daniel Hamada on Friday. “For our league, right now I look at it as an opportunity for our kids to demonstrate what they’re able to do. I see it as a challenge. I see it as a positive thing for our kids.”
The league representation formula will be used for all divisions in the revised format, which will now be identified as Division I–Open, Division I and Division II. The formula is a mathematical rule used to determine the number of representatives from each league based on the number of teams declared in a division.
The Oahu Interscholastic Association will have three teams in the Division I-Open tournament and one team in Division II. The KIF will have one representative in Division I.
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu will have a team in each tournament. The Maui Interscholastic League and the Big Island Interscholastic Federation will each have one team in the Division I and Division II tournaments.
Last year, the HHSAA executive board approved a one-year pilot for a three-tier football state championship format, which consisted of a six-team Open Division, an eight-team Division I bracket and a six-team Division II bracket.
“I really like it. I think it actually improves on last year’s format,” said HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun on Friday. “I think every game is going to be competitive from the D1-Open all the way down to D2.”
Chun added the new format is not another one-year trial and expects it to be in place for the foreseeable future.
“This isn’t a pilot anymore. This is what the football committee put in place. So, this will be used going forward,” Chun said. “I guess it may change if the OIA decides to participate in three divisions next year. Wherever they decide to go, there could be five league champs. And if that happens, then we’d probably have to look at going to a six-team tournament format in that bracket.”
This year’s semifinals are scheduled for Nov. 3 for Division II and Nov. 4 for Division I. Sites are to be determined.
The Division I–Open will play its semifinal round Nov. 10 at Aloha Stadium.
All three division championships will be played in a triple-header on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Aloha Stadium.
Kapaa High School varsity football head coach Philip Rapozo said the promotion is new territory for him, but he can’t think about that unless his team wins the KIF title.
Kapaa won the KIF championship last season and was the runner-up in the Division II tournament.
“It’s not something, as coaches, that we can control. I don’t know. I got mixed emotions, mixed feelings,” Rapozo said. “I’m trying to figure it out myself. But first of all, we got to win the KIF first before we can worry about the playoffs.”
Waimea head coach Jason Caldeira said, “Whatever they picked for us, I feel it’s always in the best for the KIF. So, I agree with whatever their decisions are.”
Kauai High School varsity football coach Derek Borrero couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
2017 tournament formats
Division I-Open: OIA (3), ILH (1)
Division I: ILH (1), BIIF (1), MIL (1), KIF (1)
Division II: OIA (1), ILH (1), BIIF (1), MIL (1)